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Brazilians Celebrate World Cup Victory - 2002-06-30

Brazilians are wildly celebrating their team's victory over Germany in the World Cup finals, a feat that makes Brazil a record five-time winner of the football championship. The celebrations in Brazil are expected to go on throughout the day and into Monday.

"Penta-Campeao" ("five-time champion") chanted the huge crowd watching the match at an outdoor bar as the game against Germany drew toward its end with Brazil ahead, 2-0.

The crowd had been tense during the scoreless first half and many feared Brazil might go down to defeat again as it did in the 1998 Cup finals against France. But when Ronaldo scored the first goal in the middle of the second half, people jumped and cheered for joy, waving the yellow and green Brazilian flag and calling for more. They got their wish with Ronaldo's second goal and with victory certain, the partying began.

Paulo Roberto da Gama Pereira, wearing the canary yellow shirt of the Brazilian team, had clutched a rosary for most of the game, pressing the beads to his lips as he prayed for victory. When it came, tears came into his eyes. "It's ours, it's ours," he yelled. "The suffering we've gone through since France is now over and now we can celebrate. We've won the title for the fifth time."

Even foreigners like Dutch student Christian got caught up in the frenzy. "I'm going to party, I'm going to party until tomorrow," he said.

The celebrations are likely to last through Monday, if as expected, the government declares a national holiday.

Brazil's victory is all the sweeter because it did not go into the World Cup as a heavy favorite. The national team had a lackluster performance in the qualifying matches leading up to the Cup, and appeared to be demoralized. But as other more favored teams like France and Italy got knocked out of the championship, Brazil's chances grew and the team became more confident, winning victory after victory.

Now, the team can expect a joyful homecoming, as 170 million Brazilians continue reveling in the national energy that comes from winning the World Cup title for an unprecedented fifth time.